Elliot Trumbull is a black sheep among black sheep.
his father, Malcolm Trumbull and mother, Sally Tanner were bikers when they were younger. They got hitched just before their first son, Dave, was born.
3 sons and a daughter later, Malcolm had finally tamed (most) of his wild ways, but Sally was still a wildchild. When her appendix ruptured during a wild night out with some of her wild girlfriends and she had to be rushed to the hospital, Malcolm had no way of paying for the operation. Desperate for money, he and a few friends he still hung out with from the old days pulled off a series of small to mid-range robberies. Malcolm had the money "cleaned" as fast as he could get it. During the last heist, where they'd smashed their way into a local shopping mall, one of his pals, Larry "Dutch" Dugan shot a security guard. Malcolm was captured during the getaway and arrested, but he refused to give up the names of his accomplices. Malcolm Trumbull went to prison, but Sally got her operation via a mysterious check from "Uncle Bob" deposited into the family account.
Over time, Sally stopped coming to visit Malcolm in the Penn.
His sons, Dave, Andrew and Vincent stopped coming to see him. Only his youngest son, Elliot and daughter, Jenna, continued to show up on visitor's day.
Soon after her 18th birthday, Jenna told her dad that she was leaving Liberty City and going to California, as she had accepted a scholarship to The University of California at Ocean City. Yes, it was a 'party school', but their math department was excellent. Malcolm was elated. Jenna was a bright girl with a future, unlike her brothers, whom had grown to be trouble-making hellions, with the exception of Elliot.
Ell continued to visit his dad, who'd always strived to teach him right from wrong, even from behind prison bars. Elliot was a good boy, (thank God), but was directionless. He kept out of trouble, but never really applied himself to anything, or so Malcolm thought.
It was about a year later, when, at age 20, he told his father that he had good news and bad new. Malcolm wanted the bad news first. Elliot, with permission from the guard, slid an envelope of papers through the slot in the plexiglass barrier that separated him from his dad. Malcolm perused the documents.... Divorce papers. Sally was divorcing him. Elliot told his father of the new man in her life. "Bert". Bert Morley, to be exact. One of Malcolm's old co-workers at the automechanic shop. Elliot expected his father to explode, or at the very least start cursing. But, the greying ex-biker just sighed, asked the nearest guard on his side of the glass for a pen, and signed. Her knew Sally wouldn't wait forever. Hell, he was surprised she'd waited THIS long. He asked Elliot if she was happy, and he said yes. he knew Bert, and Bert was a good guy. She'd be taken care of. He asked his boy what the GOOD news was, and Elliot told him... He was a SUPERHERO.
Malcolm just stared blankly for a second, as if he hadn't heard. Elliot repeated himself, this time in somewhat hushed tones. Malcolm, with the same eerie calm he had when he signed away his marriage asked his boy how long this all had been going on.
Elliot was shocked that Malcolm believed him so easily.
Elliot explained that his abilities manifested sometime in his 11th year. He'd grown up with really bad asthma, which downgraded to bronchitis when he was 9. The bronchial attacks got fewer and farther between. They not only disappeared when he was 11, but he could breath VERY well. When swimming, he could hold his breath for minutes! He didn't realize the changes were so extreme until one winter day, he'd bought hot cocoa at a local convenience store on his way home. It was too hot, but when he blew on it, it froze. SOLID.
He got dizzy. The clerk noticed his distress and offered to call his parents or the paramedics. His throat was suddenly sore and scratchy, and his insides felt like there were living things moving around in there. Something was wrong, but he was deathly afraid of going to the doctor, OR
letting his parents know. He threw up. Right there on the floor. It was a brown, bubbling slurry. Almost like coca-cola syrup.
The clerk insisted on calling the paramedics for him, but Elliot, in a state of total panic screamed "NO!!", and ran from the store. What he didn't notice in his abject panic was that his outburst was amplified and sonically enhanced. To Elliot, it was just a scream. To the clerk, it was a sonic boom. The windows of the store and every other bit of glass in an 80 foot fan-patterned radius exploded outward from the point of origin that was Elliot's mouth. The poor clerk was knocked back by the sheer concussive force, and when he awoke, hours later, he was deaf in one ear. The coke-like vomit on the floor where the child was, had eaten through the floor like acid, all the way down to the foundation of the building.
Elliot had run from the store, into the still-falling snow, his mind a haze of fear. He had no idea where he was going, he just ran and ran until he blacked out. He woke up in his room with no idea how he got there. His parents weren't home, and his older brother Andrew was downstairs in the living room, making out with some girl. Slowly, he remembered what happened. he realized it was he that did the damage. He was too scared to ever go back to that store again. He tested himself, just to make sure it wasn't all a dream. He wanted to scream, but he was afraid. If it wasn't a dream, he could accidentally destroy the house. He tried a loud whisper. He remembered that scratchy feeling in his throat, and hit came back. just like before. Not too loud, this time, he tried to bark out a word. Just loud enough to be heard in his room. But, instead, his tummy lurched, and he vomited again. Right into his own hands. He still had his soggy coat and mittens on, and the spew instantly began to eat away at them. The smell was awful. Like burning socks and garlic. The mitts and sleeves of his coat were gone and the awful muck got all over his hands, but it didn't even tingle. The fine hairs on his forearms weren't even singed. He tried again. On purpose, this time. He dug into his closet and got out some of his old, broken action figures that he didn't play with anymore. He got the old flowerpots that he used for "castle playsets" and set them in. He concentrated. He felt that familiar, if vaguely unpleasant lurch in his guts, and spewed right into the flowerpot. The standless green army men, limbless G.I. Joes and broken transformers melted into plastic slag, but the flowerpot only took a light scorching before the bizarre acids dissipated into thin air.
Elliot had superpowers. He didn't want to alarm his parents. He didn't want to be dragged away to some lab and poked and prodded for the rest of his life. The internet said that's what happened to young kids with powers that their parents don't like. But Elliot DID want what every little boy wanted... to be a superhero.
He practiced in secret, every chance he got. In the park, at the lake, in alleys on the way home from school, and on rooftops. The old scrapyard on the outskirts of town near where his dad worked was his favorite place. No one would notice a little extra noise and destruction during the week.
He found that aside from a devastating sonic scream, and acid spit, he could freeze things with his breath, or blow things away by huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf.
He could make his eyeteeth elongate into fangs just by thinking about it, and those fangs carried venom. They could also bite through some very tough substances. His tongue could stretch, and was prehensile. At the lake, he found that not only could he breathe water, but outside the water, he could hold his breath for a very long time.
He had a plethora of cool (and some not-so-cool) superpowers that all seemed to be centered around his mouth, nose, throat and lungs. Not the most dynamic or visually appealing skills, but he would take them for what they were worth.
Over the next 7 years or so, he'd sneak out an "patrol", or sneak out to his dad's garage (where none of the kids were allowed) and listen to the police scanner his father had for trouble spots, then ride as fast as his bike would carry him to the scene. He disguised himself with a ski mask, some gloves and a home-made cape made from a novelty pirate flag he won at a carnival when he was 13.
He'd stopped some crimes, and secretly helped the police catch some of the ones that got away. He never gave himself a name (out loud. But, when he was 14, he, mentally called himself "Knight Avenger". At 15 he decided it was a stupid name.), but then, he wasn't really in it for the fame. He told himself it was about the rush, but deep down, he truly wanted to help people. He wanted to be the boyscout iconic hero that everyone loved, but, in reality, he was a slacker, and he knew it. For all his practicing with his many abilities, and constant exercise, and lessons in how to fight from his dad and brothers, his self esteem was not the highest. He believed that it was dumb luck more than any skill or superpower that was getting him by. It took him til age 19 to don a real costume and take the name "BattleCry". That long before he was able to gather the nerve to go (semi)public and be an honest-to-God superhero. He was average, at best. he'd come close to dying more times than he was willing to acknowledge in front of his dad.
When his mom got involved with Bert Morley, he moved out of the house. He found a cheap (and possibly illegal) converted loft apartment above a warehouse in the downtown area. He took pieces of his costume to 3 separate dry cleaners, and shoe repair businesses so as not to tip anyone off to his secret identity. He washed his mask by hand. He wanted to gain a contact in the local newspaper. Sort of his own "Lois Lane". Unfortunately, the reporters he tried contacting all dismissed him as a crackpot.
No respect, and waning SELF respect almost made him give it all up. He wanted to be a hero, but no one was FORCING him to. There was nothing that said having metahuman abilities meant you were obliged to save the world. Maybe he could settle into a normal life. But, without the hero thing, he was directionless. It was his only dream, and it, like everything else in his life seemed doomed to failure.
...Until the day his cousin, Jenny Tanner
came to town, looking for him.
Jenny was the only one he'd ever told about his metabilities. She too, had a secret. She was a meta as well. It was a few years later that he'd sussed out that she was Xailenrath City, Connecticut's own teen heroine, UberWoman. They hadn't kept in constant contact, but they'd had one or two conversations at family reunions hence. Every time Elliot talked with Jenny, his faith and dreams and desires were renewed. She made it all sound so interesting, glamorous and fulfilling, even when she was talking about the bad stuff.
Now, she was in town, crashing in his spare room, and rebuilding her decimated team, The Thrillseekers, who had perished in a super-battle back on the East Coast. And, she'd recruited her cousin first.
Malcolm Trumbull sat and listened to all of this with a rapt, if blank, stare. Elliot wasn't sure his dad believed a word. To prove his words, Elliot, making sure the guards' attentions were elsewhere, darted his prehensile tongue through the small, rectangular slot at the base of the plexiglass, and grabbed the pen his father used to sign the divorce papers, and pulled it through the slot to his side. He then blew his supercooled breath on it, freezing the pen, then snapped it like a twig. It was a solid mass of ice, right down to the ink cartridge in the center of it.
Still blank, the corner of Malcolm's mouth twitched in a brief grin.
"So", he said to his youngest son, "You and your cousin are gonna go out into the big bad world and put things right, eh? Think you really got it in ya, boy?"
Elliot seemed pensive for a moment.
"Honestly, dad? i don't know. If you'd have asked me that 6 months ago, the answer woulda been 'Hell No'. but now..."
Elliot trailed off. Looked worried and pensive again for a second. JUST a single second.
"Yeah. I can. I can and I will. You may not understand. i know what you told me of your past and all. I know about your 'code of Honor' and all that. You may not like what I'm doing, but I have to do it. It's all I've ever wanted, and besides that.. it's the right thing to do."
For the first time since his sister Jenna went off to college, Elliot Trumbull saw his father smile.
"I'm proud of you, kiddo.", he said, shocking Elliot completely.
"You made the hard choice a long time ago, and you stuck with it. That's honor. I wish you'd have told me all this sooner, but hey. It is what it is. You take care of your cousin. Do right by her. See if you can get her to come visit sometime... and be careful. I love ya, boy."
With his story told, Elliot left his dad. With a song in his heart, a spring in his step and his father's blessing, he caught the bus back downtown to join his cousin Jenny in the day's main activity:
A patrol of Liberty City to find the second recruit for the new team of Thrillseekers. A very speedy young heroine named "Gazelle"